Personnel Management Information System at the Ministry of Defence of the Czech Republic

The Armed Forces of the Czech Republic have been in existence since the formation of the Czech Republic on the 1st January 1993. The general process of the (personnel) transformation started immediately in this year. The main objectives of the transformation was to create an Armed Force, based on professionalism and a distinct separation of the administrative branches from the command and executive branches. The transformation is not only based upon structural changes in the quantity and quality of personnel and changes in personnel management but also upon changes in logistics, finance and planning. The time frame takes into consideration the short term, intermediate and long term development programs. An important role in the process of transformation of the Czech Armed Forces is the new concept of personnel management.

The Armed Forces of the Czech Republic have been in existence since the formation of the Czech Republic on the 1st January 1993. The general process of the (personnel) transformation started immediately in this year. The main objectives of the transformation was to create an Armed Force, based on professionalism and a distinct separation of the administrative branches from the command and executive branches. The transformation is not only based upon structural changes in the quantity and quality of personnel and changes in personnel management but also upon changes in logistics, finance and planning. The time frame takes into consideration the
short term, intermediate and long term development programs. An important role in the process of transformation of the Czech Armed Forces is the new concept of personnel management. Its realisation is connected with increased requirements on collection and evaluation of personnel information and social support. Therefore a Personnel Information System is to be realised during the years 1995 -1998. The Personnel Management Information System is a part of this system and will be developed and implemented during 1995 and 1996. The main idea of its introduction is based upon the fact that the level of knowledge of the state of affairs of personnel in the Armed Forces and Military Reserves is crucial for the decision making processes in all management fields. In other words, the information about the dynamics of all categories of personnel throughout the organisation will only be useful if it is able to support the decision making processes with respect to the development and carry out of personnel policy throughout the whole organisation.

  1. Personnel management at the Ministry of Defence 1
  2. Management Information Systems 2
  3. Used development methodologies 3
  4. The Personnel Decision Support System ‘LIBUŠE’ 4
  5. Conclusion

1. Personnel management at the Ministry of Defence

One of the primary tasks of the newly re-oriented personnel management team is to find solutions to all main problems regarding the transformation of personnel. This involves, for example, the reactions to changes of the state military doctrine, the step by step abandoning of conscript service, and the reduction, restructuring and professionalisation of the Armed Forces. The search for satisfying solutions is restricted by criteria like budget burdens, combat readiness, the qualitative and functional structure of the Armed Forces etc. Furthermore, the aspect of urgency and the political necessity to find a satisfactory solution are critical factors for success.

The basic tasks of personnel management in the process of transforming the Armed Forces are:

  • The reduction of personnel of the Czech Armed Forces;
  • The re-structuring of the Czech Armed Forces;
  • The strategic development and control of career patterns;
  • The design and execution out of an integral policy of planning and control of human resources;
  • The development and execution of an effective policy for personnel marketing;
  • The development of a personnel diagnostic system and a method of personnel selection and redistribution;
  • The development and implementation of a policy for professional training and education during and following a professional career.

The aim of the transformation is to achieve such a organisation in which it will be possible to execute standard personnel policy with respect to the planning and control of human resources during an entire
career life cycle. This includes the beginning of a career (recruitment), the stage of professional training and education (control of service execution), up until the conclusion of a career (transfer to reserves and
retirement).

2. Management Information Systems

Management activities can be characterised in terms of ‘planning’ and ‘control’. The main objective of planning is the development of strategy plans which can be implemented into organisation policy. The control aspects of management focus on the confrontation and analysis of (budget) targets with reality. The concepts of planning and control can be made operational within the layout of a Management Information System (MIS). Management Information Systems (MIS), in general, are being designed and implemented to support management in fulfilling their role of planning and control. During the summer of 1995 a start was made on the development of a Personnel Management Information System at the Ministry of Defence. The final Personnel Management Information System will consist of two main systems: a Personnel Decision Support System (P-DSS) for planning purposes and a Personnel Executive Information System (P-EIS)for control purposes.

The Personnel Executive Information System (P-EIS) is primarily a reporting and monitoring system to control the implemented personnel policy. For this reason, this system depends on the available data in the different personnel databases which will be used to produce the necessary reports. During 1995-1998 a separate Personnel Information System (PIS) will be designed, developed and implemented at the Department of Personnel of the Ministry of Defence. This system contains components which will be used to develop and support the Personnel Executive Information System (P-EIS). In 1996, the first results of this Personnel Information System (PIS) can be expected. Therefore, the Personnel Executive Information System (P-EIS) will be developed and implemented in the second half of 1996, following the Personnel Information System.

During 1995 a start was made on the development of the Personnel Decision Support System (P-DSS). As opposed to the Personnel Executive Information System (P-EIS), this system depends not so much on the detailed personnel data, but is more focused on aggregate levels of personnel information. The development of strategic personnel policy can be supported by different decision support models. These models can be characterised as global, aggregated representations of ‘reality’. With the aid of these models this ‘reality’ can be simulated and forecasted into the nearby future (for example over a period of 10 years). The outcomes of such scenario-analyses are a representation of future results given a specified set of management decisions, hypotheses and assumptions. To ‘capture’ these decisions, hypotheses and assumptions into a decision support model is one of the main activities of the development of the Personnel Decision Support System (P-DSS). The outcomes of the different models are being used to create the important plan document “Plan of Human Resources 1997-2006”.

3. Used development methodologies

The identification of Critical Success Factors for the organisation can help in the design of the Personnel Decision Support System (P-DSS). The Critical Success Factors can be identified by translating the strategic management plans into some ‘key-factors’ or ‘target-areas’. These can be factors which focus either on the internal organisation or on the direct environment of the organisation. These Critical Success Factors can be further translated into so called ‘Performance-Indicators’ which measure the activities, developments and outcomes of the realisation of management policy. Outcomes which differ from pre-defined targets can be located and analysed through exception monitoring. With the aid of information technology and the use of ‘mental modelling’ concepts, we can investigate the relation between these Performance-Indicators and the decision variables which are controlled by management. Different scenarios can be calculated to evaluate the effects of different policies or to specify the impact of uncertain external developments. The aim of the underlying decision support model is not to predict the uncertain future, but to gain more insight in reality and to sharpen the knowledge and beliefs about reality through experimentation. Our knowledge, experiences, beliefs and paradigms about reality are represented by our ‘mental models’. By capturing and sharing the individual mental models of the people within the organisation (management, staff etc.) we learn more about reality and gain a higher level of consensus about the problem areas. This ongoing process of surfacing, testing and restructuring of mental models helps improve our own mental model. The different decision support models embedded in the technology are representations of these mental models, which ultimately leads to “ownership” of the models by the people themselves.

The process of mental modelling
 
A problem situation, for example in the field of personnel management, is viewed by different observers (management, staff etc.). The experiences of the observers can be shared by making one consensus map of the different mental maps of the observers. This map can be adjusted many times (step 1). From this consensus map a computer model can be developed by a model expert. This computer model is a translation of the consensus mental map into a mathematical model which can be simulated with the help of a computer. Changes in the mental map will change the computer model (step 2). This computer model can be used for scenario-analyses and the outcomes will influence the existing mental maps of each observer (‘learning’). The design, development and use of the decision model can be viewed as an ongoing incremental process with can have many feedback loops. To control the activities in an organisation, management needs instruments which at all times monitors the outcomes of policy. By gathering and representing information about the Performance-Indicators, management will have up-to-date information about the success or failure of a given policy.

With this information, management can decide to adjust policy to meet pre-defined goals. To report this information, access to different data sources, internal and external, is necessary. The collection, aggregation and representation of this data from different sources will be the major goal of the Personnel Executive Information System (P-EIS).

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